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5 Simple Market Day Food Ideas (from Dollar Tree)

Simple Market Day food ideas where all the ingredients are from the Dollar Tree. You heard me right!

Does your school allow food sales at Market Day?

colored marshmallows with sprinkles, toothpick through them on plate, text overlay

Maybe the entire focus of your school’s Entrepreneur Day is around food this year.

Awesome!

Here are the best Market Day Food ideas I’ve got – all created from ingredients you get at the Dollar Tree.

You heard me right.

Market Day Food Ideas from the Dollar Tree

Before we dive into these Market Day food ideas from the Dollar Tree, I just want to point out a few things:

  • The Dollar Tree Doesn’t Always Have the Best Price: Sometimes, the best price for food is not at the Dollar Tree. You need to look at the price per unit (divide the total price by the number of ounces, or number of product, in the container), and then compare that to what you would find at a grocery store to see which has the cheaper price.
  • Pay Attention to Cost/Unit: I included the cost per unit for the ingredients purchased (you can double, triple, quadruple, etc. the recipe by buying that much more in ingredients), and you’ll want to pay attention to this when pricing. Remember you’ll be packaging up a product to sell, and that your customer likely won’t pay for just one Unicorn Marshmallow, but several of them.
  • Each Dollar Tree Has Slightly Different Stock: Dollar Trees each stock their shelves a bit differently, so what you can find in one Dollar Tree might be different than what you find in another one just down the road. Try several out to find the ingredients you’re looking for.
  • Tweak as Needed: These are ideas using actual ingredients from actual Dollar Trees – use them “as is”, or as a jumping off point and come up with your own spin on the food item based on Dollar Tree ingredients you can find.

Pro tips: Oh yeah – and don’t forget to provide an ingredients list, only use food-grade plastics from the Dollar Tree to package and display foods with, and wear gloves both when making the food and when giving it to your customer.

1. Cinnamon Toast Popcorn

popcorn with cinnamon toast crunch in bucket next to scoop and popcorn bag

Can I say I have a new favorite snack?

Cinnamon Toast Crunch happened to be my most favorite cereal and snack when I was a teen – so when I saw not only the cereal, but also a new Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnamon Spread at the Dollar Tree?

Well, I got an idea.

And that’s how this awesome Cinnamon Toast Popcorn was born.

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnamon Creamy Spread
  • 1 bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
  • 1 bag of popcorn kernels
  • Popcorn bags (optional)

Instructions:

  • Step #1: Pop the popcorn. You can pop about ½ cup in one lunch bag (the bigger the lunch bag, the better). I popped it for 2.5 minutes in the microwave – your time may vary depending on the microwave.
  • Step #2: Take ½ cup cinnamon cream spread, and microwave it for around 20 seconds. You want it to be very spreadable and thin.
  • Step #3: Remove as many un-popped kernels as possible. I did this easily by tapping on the bowl a few times, then transferring the popcorn with gloved hands to another bowl. The kernels were all at the bottom, so I could easily throw them out.
  • Step #4: Use a spatula and put all the creamy cinnamon spread into the bowl. Carefully mix around until there’s a nice coating on most of the popcorn.
  • Step #5: Take ½ cup to ¾ cup of the cinnamon cereal, and crush it up. Sprinkle this all over the popcorn. Mix the popcorn until there’s a nice coating.
  • Step #6: Let it firm up a bit, before putting into popcorn bags to sell (hint: it will stay slightly sticky).

I hope it sells like hotcakes cinnamon toast popcorn!

Creates: 3 bags of sellable popcorn

Cost: $3.25

Cost/bag of popcorn to sell: About $1.46/bag to sell.

Other things I bought from the Dollar Tree to package it up: Plastic scoop, and three plastic tubs.

Hint: check out these Dollar Tree Market Day booth ideas.

2. Unicorn Marshmallows

Did you know there are these super cute, twisty unicorn marshmallows at the Dollar Tree?

Grab something to coat part of them in, toothpicks, and sprinkles.

For these, I used the following:

  • 1bag of Unicorn marshmallows (18 in each bag)
  • 1 bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Creamy Cinnamon Spread
  • 1 box of Sprinkles
  • 1 box of Food toothpicks (optional)

Instructions:

  • Step #1: Measure ½ cup of creamy cinnamon spread in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds.
  • Step #2: Put a toothpick most of the way through a unicorn marshmallow.
  • Step #3: Swirl the top portion or top half in the cinnamon spread. Gently tap on the side of bowl to get extra cinnamon spread off of it.
  • Step #4: cover all cinnamon spread area in sprinkles.

You can put these in a cupcake liner to serve on Market Day, or some other food-friendly way.

Hint: I found that I could cover all 18 Unicorn Marshmallows with ½ cup cinnamon spread and one box of sprinkles.

Creates: 18 Unicorn Marshmallows

Cost: $3.25

Cost/Unicorn Marshmallow: $0.21

3. Doggy Treats Bar

two buckets with two different homemade doggy treats to sell

Don’t forget about dogs! Lots of people own a dog, and these healthy, homemade treats could be just the thing they’d like to buy.

Plus, they’re very cheap to make with Dollar Tree ingredients.

Doggy Treat #1

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Oat Flour
  • 1 15-ounce can sweet potatoes (water and sugar)

Instructions:

  • Step #1: Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  • Step #2: Pick up 1 container of Rolled Oats, and blend them until they turn into oat flour.
  • Step #3: Drain the can of sweet potatoes, then mash them.
  • Step #4: Combine the two ingredients until it makes a dough.
  • Step #5: Either roll it to about ½ inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to make the doggy treat. OR, roll it into 1-inch or 1.5-inch balls.
  • Step #6: Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes.  

Creates: 20 doggy treats

Cost: $2.50

Cost/Doggy Treat: $0.13

Doggy Treat #2

two cupcake liners filled with 3 doggy treats each

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Oat Flour
  • 1 ¼ cup black beans
  • ¼ cup applesauce

Instructions:

  • Step #1: Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  • Step #2: Pick up 1 container of Rolled Oats, and blend them until they turn into oat flour.
  • Step #3: Drain the can of black beans, and rinse them. Mash the black beans.
  • Step #4: Combine the oat flour, the black beans, and the applesauce until it makes a dough.
  • Step #5: Either roll it to about ½ inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to make the doggy treat. OR, roll it into 1-inch or 1.5-inch balls.
  • Step #6: Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes.

Creates: 20 doggy treats

Cost: $3.75

Cost/Doggy Treat: $0.19

Hint: I found that one bag of the pictured rolled oats makes just about 4 cups of oat flour – so if you make both recipes, then you can get 40 doggy treats for a cost of $5.00 (or $0.13/doggy treat). Plus, you’d have half the can of black beans, and most of the applesauce left to make your next batch!

Psst: Need non-food Market day ideas? Here are 22 simple things for kids to make and sell, plus 3rd-grade market day ideas.

4. Space Pretzel Sticks

bucket of chocolate and sprinkle covered pretzel rods to sell at market day

There are space-themed sprinkles, and other sprinkles at the Dollar Tree. Not to mention, everything else you’d need to create these Space Pretzel Sticks.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Pretzel Rods
  • 3 boxes of sprinkles
  • 1 container of cocoa spread
  • 1 tube of blue icing

The space sprinkles are more expensive, meaning you get less sprinkles for the $1.25. SO, I recommend that you buy the bigger box of sprinkles they have to mostly cover each pretzel rod, and then put the space sprinkles in as supplementary to stretch your materials.

Hint: the cocoa spread does not harden, but it does stiffen up enough to stay on the pretzels. It could get a little messy, so think about how you want to package and give this to your customer upon purchase.

Creates: 25 Space Pretzel Sticks

Cost: $7.50

Cost/Space Pretzel Stick: $1.50

5. Unicorn Fudge Cookies

mint fudge cookies, jet puffed marshmallow creme and rainbow sprinkles on white background
two chocolate cookies filled with marshmallow creme and rainbow sprinkles

Have you ever seen the mint fudge cookies at the Dollar Tree? They taste pretty much exactly like a certain-organization’s Thin Mints.

Wellll….you could take two cookies, put some marshmallow cream in the center (about 2 tbsps. each), and roll it up with sprinkles to make some Unicorn Fudge Cookies!

You could also use the Fudge Graham Cracker-Covered cookies from the Dollar Tree as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package of Mint Fudge Cookies (or Graham Cracker-Covered cookies)
  • 1 container of Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 container of sprinkles

Hint: these can get a little messy. I personally like to freeze mine.

Creates: 15 Unicorn Fudge Cookies

Cost: $3.75

Cost/cookie: $0.25

My hope for you is you leave this blog post feeling capable and confident that you and your child and students can pull off simple market day food ideas, either from the Dollar Tree, or building on one of these ideas and buying ingredients elsewhere. Let me know which you’re most excited about, below!

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Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, a 2017 Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Money Prodigy. Her money work has been featured on Experian, GoBankingRates, PT Money, CA.gov, Rockstar Finance, the Houston Chronicle, and Colonial Life. Amanda is the founder and CEO of Frugal Confessions, LLC. Read more here or on LinkedIn.